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Digital Signage Causes Controversy for DART and Council Member

A recent story by Steve Stoler with WFAA.com reported on a City of Garland city council member and his concerns with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) deciding to spend $6 million on digital signage at stations throughout its service area. To read the complete story, click here. We’ve provided a key excerpt from Mr. Stoler’s article below:

“DART will spend $6 million to install new digital signs at its stations by the end of the year.

“What it’s going to do is tell customers when the next train is arriving, the number of cars, how long it’s going to be before the next train is going to get there,” said DART spokesman Morgan Lyons. “That’s something customers have told us they’ve wanted for some time.”

Garland City Council Member Larry Jeffus said he understands the need for better signage. But he said with all the recent criminal activity at DART facilities, the transit system needs more security — not new signs.

“I realize signs help people get around,” Jeffus said. “But if we had more DART officers and DART personnel at the stations, they could advise citizens on issues that might come up.”

While we agree that safety comes first for riders, it should be noted that the digital signage will help increase the flow of real-time information to DART riders as well as DART police officers. We have no vested interested in the digital signage that DART is installing, but what the council member should consider is how digital signage can be used as a tool to increase safety at DART terminals and stations. We also agree that a larger number of better trained group of DART officers is needed to ensure safety for riders, but let’s not confuse wayfinding and information management with policing. These two should never be combined. Let the DART police enforce the law and manage rider safety and let the law-abiding riders get their information real-time from digital signage without distracting the police.

Judging by the incredibly diverse demographics that comprise DART’s customer base, we seriously doubt that a DART officer could do a better job of communicating when compared with a digital sign. Sorry councilman, you’re wrong about this one.

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